Congressman Farenthold and Jeffries Introduce Bill to Protect Against Patent Trolls
by Blake Farenthold on July 13, 2013 at 12:49 PM
WASHINGTON— U.S. Congressmen Blake Farenthold (R-TX) and Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) today introduced H.R. 2639, The Patent Litigation and Innovation Act of 2013, which is intended to protect downstream users of technology from abusive and costly patent litigation.
Many end users of technology, such as individual consumers, non-profits, retailers, local governments and small to large businesses, have become victims of a dramatic increase in abusive lawsuits brought on by patent assertion entities, commonly known as “patent trolls.” Patent trolls aggressively seek out end users and threaten to sue them if they don’t pay a licensing fee for goods they bought off the shelf. They exist for the sole purpose of lawsuits and financial gain.
“Americans need to know they are safe from abusive litigation when they buy a product off the shelf and use it for its intended purpose,” said Congressman Farenthold. “The solutions proposed in this bill will deter patent trolls without impeding the rights of responsible intellectual property holders.”
This legislation modernizes our patent litigation system to address the concerns facing end users across America. Through heightened pleading requirements, this bill adds transparency and legitimacy to the thousands of cease and desist letters sent out by patent trolls.
Additionally, the Patent Litigation and Innovation Act of 2013 will provide a reliable method for joining manufacturers and customers to the appropriate litigation. The current patent system amounts to legalized extortion for many companies who frequently decide to settle in order to continue investing in their business, rather than pursue potentially frivolous litigation.
“The legislation is designed to provide a constructive framework for patent infringement cases to proceed while minimizing the problem of abusive litigation. The explosion of patent troll activity diverts resources away from research and development, hinders innovation and stifles entrepreneurship. The civil litigation system is critical to our democracy. In this instance, Congress must prevent it from being abused,” said Congressman Jeffries.
Protecting end users from patent troll litigation abuse is an idea with bipartisan, bicameral support, and was recently endorsed by the White House Task Forces on High-Tech Patent Issues.